Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stash in the Attic

Buy the right item in the wrong season and you get the best value for your money.

And that certainly is true on a lot of things including items for the garden! I've been stock piling several spring essentials recently, whilst it is still early autumn and I've been able to take advantage of the autumn sales. It's this time of the year when many shops need to free up valuable retail space for the winter season (mostly Christmas related items) and get rid of out of season products via massive price reductions, and that includes lots of garden related items. 

Stash in the Attic! Just a tiny fraction of what is now stored in our loft.

I must admit it feels a bit strange buying spring gardening products at this time of the year but with 50% to 75% price reductions, they are too good a deal to pass on. So I've been buying several sacks of pelleted chicken manure, boxes of various fertilisers, plant tonics, and miscellaneous chemicals; all in preparation for spring next year. Strange as it may feel buying these items now, I certainly reap the rewards come spring when most of the items I need are on hand for a tiny fraction of their usual cost.

Several sacks of pelleted chicken manure, in waterproof bags and now safely stored in the shed to ensure they remain dry
Sulphate of Iron, one of the tonics I stockpile on as I need loads of it in the spring to encourage lush, green foliage on our potted bamboos. Some types of bamboos don't always do well in a pot long term and is prone to chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves). By giving them generous doses of this tonic I manage to counteract this.

It's a cycle I've been following for the past few years; I buy spring items in the autumn and winter items (like frost fleece, garden furniture covers, etc.) in the spring and the savings I get are huge. Planning, preparation, and timing are essential and you must be aware when exactly certain shops do their reductions as some items fly off the shelves much quicker than others once prices have been reduced.

Provado Vine Weevil Killer 2, one of the first things to fly off the shelves once prices are reduced. It's rather pricey so at 50% off or more it is worth snapping up several for future use. Most of the time I use the biological control for vine weevil grubs, Nemasys Nematodes which is more cost effective and is specific to vine weevil but it's use is temperature dependent and is difficult to get hold of in winter. For potted plants overwintered indoors requiring treatment in the winter or early spring this is a handy option.
Other things worth checking out this time of the year are garden furniture, outdoor barbecues, and garden accessories where you can definitely get the best deals. Not to mention the all important plant sales!

When buying off season, storage is the main consideration. Before you stock pile make sure you have the space to store these items according to their requirements, to keep them in their best condition until they are ready to be used. A second consideration is making sure that the items will store well and keep for quite some time, and not have a limited shelf life. Chemicals and tonics tend to keep for a long time as long as they are kept in a cool, dry, and frost free place. Fertilisers keep well too as long as they are stored in a dry place.

Most of the items I need for spring I have already. All I need now is spring!



  1. Wow, what an awesome haul! I'll keep an eye out for good deals, but our season isn't quite over yet--although Christmas trees and ornaments have been in the stores for weeks now.

  2. That's a good tip! Spring won't be far away...:-(

  3. I'm impressed, that is very organised! I like a good bargain too, but we are strapped for space here at the moment.

  4. If I could stock-pile anything, it would be space.

  5. That's a lot of loot Mark! You have a wide garden and i can imagine you really need a lot of those. I envy that thing 'pelleted chicken manure', i dont think we have it here. I get my own cow manure from other neighbors who dont need them, when i have time! Now i am curious what is your official work there, if i may ask! thanks. BTW, you said some grasses here are planted as annuals there. Yes, some peoples trash are always another's treasure. Maybe I can supply you with seeds which are unwanted here, haha!

  6. I usually do this too, but sadly Wilko sold out before I got there :o(

  7. Gerhard, I'm pleased I managed to stockpile lots this time. In theory I won't need to spend that much come spring but that's not always the case, lol!

    How I wish Hazel! :P Still there's lots that can be done till then, we should be sufficiently pre-occupied till then :)

    Janet, once you're settled in your new place you can start stock piling again :)

    Esther, same here, would love to have more space! But sometimes having more space just gives you more reason to fill it up!

    Andrea, we're in the suburbs so it's tricky to find fresh manure, and certainly wouldn't want to transport it in the car, lol! And it has to be composted first before it can be used as fertiliser. Pelleted manure is organic and convenient to use :) I wouldn't mind tropical grass seeds but my success rate with germinating them here hasn't been good!

    Libby, getting the timing right can be tricky isn't it? Luckily there's one near us that I can conveniently check out every time we do our weekly shop! :)

  8. I love these fall discounts. For me, this is also the best time to buy plants! Lots of nurseries have big sales in the autumn, and with our mild winters autumn is actually the best time to plant. Lucky me!

  9. Indeed Deb! Lots of nurseries are having their autumn sales too, but we haven't availed of them so far as haven't had much time to visit them. We managed to briefly visit a nearby one last Saturday but they didn't have any sales on, but their plants are cheap anyway so bought a few :)


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